Benton Institute for Broadband & Society

The Plan for a Connected Illinois

Illinois is home to over 12.7 million individuals in approximately 4.9 million families who speak over 20 languages. These families live in 102 counties that range from the dense urban areas found in Cook, DuPage, and Lake counties to the rural areas in Pope and Stark counties; from Illinois’ manufacturing centers like the Quad Cities, Rockford, and Greater Peoria regions to the farmlands of Gallatin, White, and Sangamon counties. Common to all of these communities and geographies is the way they stay connected to each other and to the broader global community; how they access healthcare, e

Ending the ACP will Limit the Internet’s Economic and Healthcare Benefits for Low-Income Households

What does solving the digital divide look like? The simple answer—getting more people online—is tempting, but it’s just a first step. Focusing only on home adoption rates provides a too limited perspective on the benefits of solving the digital divide. Consistency of connectivity is a key issue for low-income households—and this consistency is an important part of what the Federal Communications Commission’s Affordable Connectivity Plan (ACP) offers. For many households, the digital divide is not a one-time bridge to cross. Instead, online connectivity can be episodic.

Here’s What ISPs Are Telling ACP Subscribers Today

Today is the first day of the end of the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP). As you read this, one out of every six American households is being notified that their internet bill may soon spike and potentially become unaffordable. The ACP is a federal benefit that is currently helping 22.8 million low-income households afford internet service. However, the ACP is running out of funding. If Congress does not act soon, the ACP will end this Spring and the millions of people who rely on it will experience a sudden bill shock.

Developing Digital Skills and Opportunity in Arkansas

The purpose of the Arkansas Digital Skills and Opportunity Plan is to outline an actionable path forward to make digital opportunity an economic benefit and reality for all Arkansans. This plan will position the state’s residents to pursue cross-sectoral economic growth through broadband-related, nondeployment activities and enhance workforce development. The draft plan is open for public comment until January 25, 2024. ARConnect has a detailed vision for achieving digital opportunity in Arkansas: 

New Mexico's Plan for an Inclusive and Prosperous Society

The State of New Mexico recognizes the transformative power of technology in fostering an inclusive and prosperous society for all of New Mexico’s diverse and unique communities and across New Mexico’s rich tapestry of cultures and languages as well as its diverse geographies. With this in mind, the New Mexico Office of Broadband Access and Expansion (OBAE) released its draft State Digital Equity Plan for public comment in late 2023.

How the FCC Plans to End the Affordable Connectivity Program

The Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP) is a federal benefit that helps qualifying low-income households pay for internet service and devices. Since January 2022, the ACP has grown to help over 22 million U.S. households (roughly one in six of all Americans) access the internet. However, the ACP is running out of funding. Congress originally appropriated $14.2 billion for the ACP, but over time that amount has been spent down to the point where the ACP is on course to run out of funding this Spring.

Everyone Connected: Connecticut's Digital Equity Plan

In 2022, Governor Ned Lamont (D-CT) called on the Connecticut Commission for Educational Technology within the Department of Administrative Services (DAS) to lead the State’s efforts around digital equity. In late 2023, the commission released its draft digital equity plan, Connecticut: Everyone Connected, for public comment.

Reactions to Lawmakers' Introduction of Legislation to Extend the Affordable Connectivity Program

“The Affordable Connectivity Program has helped close the digital divide by connecting over 25,000 Vermont households to lower-cost internet—an essential for working, learning, and staying connected to our communities. Access to high-speed internet isn’t a luxury anymore, it’s a necessity.

Coloradans at the Heart of State's Digital Access Plan

The Colorado Office of the Future of Work's Digital Equity Team released the Colorado Digital Access Plan for public comment. The plan includes a vision, mission and values that honor Coloradans and their unique needs and assets. People are at the center of Colorado’s digital inclusion work and in every section of the plan. With this in mind, feedback from the public can be submitted until January 19, 2024.

Connected and Empowered: A Digital Equity Plan for Pennsylvania

The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania strives to achieve universal and equitable connectivity to support the state's social, economic, and quality of life outcomes. The Pennsylvania Broadband Development Authority (PBDA) has released Connected and Empowered: A Digital Equity Plan for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to work towards digital inclusion for every resident of the Commonwealth. PBDA's draft plan is available for public comment until January 8, 2024.